Headlines in the Midlands
University of South Carolina embarks on $1 billion capital campaign
University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said Friday (Nov. 11) that the university has raised $529.9 million in gifts and pledges toward the goal, which he expects to reach in 2015. The quiet phase of the campaign got under way in July 2007.
Pastides said that the private fund-raising campaign is essential for inspiring a better way of life for all through sound science, intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of economic prosperity
"The University of South Carolina has made a commitment - a promise - to students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and the communities we serve that we will continue to lead the way to improve the quality of life for all in our state and in our world," Pastides said. "Focus Carolina, which is our strategic plan, the partnerships that we have built, and the investments that we'll make in our students and our future will forever change the face of Carolina.
Titled "Carolina's Promise," the campaign is grounded in Focus Carolina, the university's comprehensive strategic plan.
Specifically, the campaign will raise funds to:
- expand funding for student scholarships, fellowships and financial aid;
- accelerate discoveries and technology transfer via faculty research;
- enhance recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty;
- make Carolina more competitive with peer universities by improving academic facilities, technologies and living-learning environments for students;
- strengthen the health of individuals and communities in South Carolina and beyond, and
- secure Carolina's future by building the endowment.
See more in the video of the announcement below.
"Carolina's Promise will impact the educational, economic, health and social fortunes of South Carolina and beyond," Pastides said.
David Seaton, chief executive officer of Fluor Corp. and chairman of the campaign, said Carolina's Promise means investing in the success of students so they will have even greater opportunities in a vastly more competitive world economy.
"They represent the best promise of tomorrow," said Seaton, an alumnus of USC.
Elizabeth Wilson, a Carolina Scholar and quintuple business major from Georgetown, said the impact of private giving on students cannot be overemphasized.
"There are so many opportunities for students to take advantage of here at the university, from community service projects to study abroad programs. A successful capital campaign will enhance these programs and make it possible for more students to take advantage of them. I personally would never have been able to participate in the programs that I did without the benefit of scholarships that came from private support. It has truly made a difference in my Carolina experience," said Wilson, who also is USC's Outstanding Woman of the Year for 2011.
Brian Benicewicz, holder of the endowed chair in USC's Center for Polymer Nanocomposite Research, said private dollars will give university researchers a competitive edge. "A great research institution is one that supports faculty research at all levels and across all disciplines," Benicewicz said. "Private funding can be a shot in the arm for a young scientist just starting out or the icing on the cake for a researcher on the cusp of an important discovery. Regardless, it is essential for helping scientists translate their ideas into products and knowledge that will have an impact on society. This is an exciting time to be at the University of South Carolina."
Pastides said vigorous philanthropic support has become essential for higher education, especially public universities, in the last two decades.
"Twenty years ago, philanthropy provided the margin of excellence for universities," Pastides said. "Today, private support makes up more of the budget than state appropriations, which are 9 percent of Carolina's budget this year. Strong private giving is now essential to Carolina's success."
Carolina's Promise is the second capital campaign in the university's history. The Bicentennial Capital Campaign, which concluded in 2002, generated funds, pledges and gifts valued at $506 million.